If you are hosting an online team meeting, you should always use the proper etiquette and keep the following things in mind: Avoid multitasking, make eye contact, and avoid speaking while the microphone is mute. You can use the microphone icon to unmute yourself, and if you must, you should find the mute button and switch it on and off to avoid disturbing others. Your team members will appreciate it if you can keep them on track.
When it comes to business etiquette, eye contact is an important component of any meeting. While it isn’t necessary to look directly into another person’s eyes, maintaining regular contact is generally appropriate. Keeping eye contact with a triangle-based base at the mid-forehead is the most appropriate way to maintain professional contact with others. However, occasionally breaking eye contact is acceptable.
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In addition to business and etiquette, proper eye contact sends specific messages. While prolonged eye contact is polite in Western cultures, it is considered rude in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Regardless of whether you’re interacting with a colleague or a client, you’ll need to consider cultural differences. In general, the shorter the distance between your eyes, the less eye contact you should maintain.
Creating a safe space
Creating a safe space in online team meetings begins with the meeting host. It is important to recognize and respond to a number of different social dynamics that can create an environment that is unfriendly to a minority group. This means aligning meeting goals and structure with the people in attendance. It is also important to consider the power dynamics that might arise and create a code of conduct that will ensure that participants are respectful of each other. Be sure to explain the expectations for the meeting at the beginning. Then, participants should be able to explore the merits of all suggestions and reach consensus.
When participants log into an online meeting, they should be acknowledged for their presence. The absence of acknowledgement can lead to awkward silence and the inability to share information. Allow time for people to consider an answer without having to worry about being excluded. The same goes for the group’s work space. If everyone has their own workspace, they can easily organize their work without worrying about the environment. If they’re working on a team project, they can create a safe space for themselves to discuss the work at hand.
Multitasking is rude and distracting. It also sends the wrong message to the other participants of the meeting. Try to focus 100 percent of your attention on the meeting. You should also turn off any notifications, including emails, to ensure that you are fully alert and focused. Video meetings can be especially difficult to engage with, so avoid multitasking during them. Also, turn off your phone or computer, so that others won’t disturb you until the call is complete.
It’s also a bad idea to multitask while at an online meeting. Although video and audio features make virtual meetings more interactive and engaging, you can still easily get distracted when someone is talking. If you’re working with others, set aside time for yourself to stay organized and to write down points. You can also use the video feature to establish relationships with other team members. It’s a good idea to turn off a second monitor and any text alerts, and refrain from responding to emails during the meeting.
Establishing ground rules
If you’re hosting an online team meeting, you’ll want to establish ground rules. These rules are not rules until everyone in the room agrees to follow them. While you may have sent an email announcing these guidelines to your team, it’s best to review them in advance. Ask if there is anything that’s interfering with focus and ask people to clear the path to full participation. For example, you might ask people to turn off their instant messaging to allow everyone to focus on the meeting.
It’s important to establish ground rules that are culturally and societally appropriate. For example, a ground rule that says “No multitasking” might be laughed at by a certain organization. Another example would be a ground rule that says “You’re not allowed to talk on the phone or multitask while you’re on the phone.” The same rules may have unintended consequences if a team member uses the wrong word or assumes the other person is wrong.
One of the most important aspects of team meeting etiquette is to minimize distractions. Make sure you have a clear agenda and that people bring their tech in working order. Keep in mind that when you are in a meeting, you don’t want people interrupting you with questions like, “Can you mute yourself?”
Before attempting to conduct an online team meeting, take a little time to review some online team meeting etiquette. For one, avoid asking multiple people to jump into a meeting. Instead, identify a single person who can provide input on a specific topic. Secondly, do not be quick on the draw. Video conferencing has made it easier to communicate with people around the world.